Short Takes: Week of March 13

SONY SOLD OVER one million PlayStation 2 game consoles during the first weekend of availability last week, sales that are 10 times greater than the original PlayStation, which first arrived 5 years ago. 380,000 of these consoles were sold online. The PlayStation 2 has been aggressively marketed by consumer giant Sony, which is positioning the console as an all-in-one entertainment accessory. The device plays audio CDs and DVD movies in addition to its own proprietary games. Graphically, the PlayStation 2 resembles the Sega Dreamcast, which also offers Internet capabilities, a feature the Sony won't have until 2001 at least.

THANKS TO CHRIS Pirillo for tipping me off to the release of IomegaWare 2.2.1, the first release of Iomega's easy-to-use software suite that works with Windows 2000. If you're running a Zip, Jaz, or Clik! drive on Windows 2000, head on over to the Iomega Web site and check it out.

WRITER STEPHEN KING will offer his next novella, or "long story," for sale as an eBook only. "Riding the Bullet," a 16,000-word ghost story, will be offered for sale for $2.50 from various eBook Web sites beginning March 14th. The tale, which was written while King recovered from an auto accident suffered last year, concerns "a young man who hitches a ride with a driver from the other side."

AMAZON CEO JEFF Bezos has been a busy man this week: After dubiously grabbing a second patent for online technology, the (cough) man of the year found himself in publisher Tim O'Reilly's crosshairs. Well, the two talked it out, and now Bezos is calling for an overhaul of the U.S. patent system, which he describes as outdated. While we might see this as a victory of sorts, he still has the patents, so I'm not sure what to make of this one.

APPLE COMPUTER FINALLY secured injunctions against eMachines and Daewoo, two companies that were offering iMac look-alike PCs. The injunction basically means that these companies can no longer ship products that copy the look of the iMac, which is straightforward enough. Maybe they'll go after that iMac look-alike iron (the "iVac") next.

DELL COMPUTER, WHICH became the number one selling PC maker in the world this week, acknowledged that over 400,000 laptop computers it sold between February and November 1999 might have a memory problem that can cause data loss or corruption, or mysterious crashes. If you've got a Latitude CPiA, CPiR, CPt, CPx, or CS models, or an Inspiron 3500, 3700, 7000, 7500 that was bought during this time period, head on over to the Dell Web site and download an application that will tell you whether your system is affected

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